NY’s New Green Building Construction Act

Courtesy of the Global Climate Law blog (listed on the Blogroll):

New York Governor David Paterson recently signed into legislation the State Green Building Construction Act. The Act amends previous green building legislation by affording the Office of General Services (“OGS”) the responsibility of promulgating rules and regulations that comply with green building standards. The bill had passed unanimously in the New York Assembly on June 10 and by a large margin of 55-2 in the state Senate on July 10. The Act requires new construction and substantial renovations of state facilities to comply with green building standards.

Previously, the onus was on the Department of Environmental Conservation to develop compliant regulations. Now, while the OGS may consult other entities such as the Department of Environmental Conservation, the ultimate compliance responsibility remains with the OGS. OGS Commissioner John Egan said in a recent press release, “We are pleased that this new law will enable the agency to continue to collaborate with state agencies and authorities to construct green buildings that lower energy costs, improve air quality, reduce waste and curb greenhouse gases. We look forward to aggressively pursuing this new responsibility.”

The stated purpose of the bill is to “more effectively promote the development of high performance and green sustainable buildings.” Proponents believe that green building will save the state money in maintenance costs. The hope is that ultimately, the creation of sustainable buildings will lead to new developments in green technologies. State agencies and the OGS have ample time to bring themselves into compliance with the Act, because many provisions of the Act will not be effective for another year. The amendment was not unexpected: Governor Paterson had recommended these measures when he signed the initial legislation in September 2008.


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